Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I self-medicate with cute and furry.
Meet Nacho. Nacho is a four-month old kitten rescued by the SPCA, waiting with us for his forever home.

And, in case you couldn't tell, Nacho is adorable.  We picked him up last night and he's super friendly, the only cat I've ever seen go immediately to sleep in his carrier. Which is the only time I've seen him sleep. He is a go-go-go cat, and with all the playing we did last night I still couldn't wear him out.

I've been at a little bit of a loss for what to do with myself lately. Nacho is helping. He knows exactly what I should do - I should throw his ball again.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I lost the baby.

The almost eight hours in the E.R. seemed interminable until I found out, but really, it’s nothing when you consider what was undone when I finally left. 

Seven weeks of dreaming about the baby because even when I was asleep, he or she was on my mind. Seven weeks of telling him or her to hang in there with my hand on my tummy. Eleven weeks with this child nestled in my belly. Or the seven years now MJ and I have talked about someday, when we’re ready, when we have a baby.

The midwife who came in after the ultrasound told me, “You’re only twenty-seven. You’re young, you’re healthy, there’s no reason you can’t be pregnant again in a few months.”

Maybe in a few months, that’ll seem like something worth saying.

Right now, I want my January baby.

My walked-in-commencement-with-me baby.

My we’re-not-ready-but-we’re-ready baby.

My calling from the top of the stairs, “Um, babe” with an edge of panic in my voice and a pregnancy test in my hand baby.

I want that baby.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I still think 'pantser' sounds like a dirty word. But for writers it means someone who writes by the seat-of-their-pants. I'm a reformed pantser; not that there's anything wrong with it, but it's not the best method for me personally. Like most of us, I learned that from trial and error.

But. If you're an outliner, there's so much more to figure out after that. So far I've found a combination works best for me - I do a rough outline, then a detailed outline as I go, a few chapters ahead. I just can't plan everything at the start. At least, not yet. I'm still learning!

So I was looking at different outlining methods. Just like with writing as a whole, I don't think there's a good or bad process, just what works best for you.
  • For a very high-level outline (that even Pantsers may find helpful), there's the 9-box or Rubik's Cube outline
  • Justine Larbalestier talks about spreadsheets (though she actually uses Scrivener now, which I'm curious about). I am a finance dork and love Excel. Spreadsheets tempt me.
  • There's the Snowflake method, which seems... exhaustive... but I'm interested to experiment with.
  • Or you can outline primary plot points and characterization in half an hour.
I've mentioned, of course, that I already have a method that seems to work for me. At least, it's getting me to the finish line of a rough draft - a few of them, now. But I'm still curious to try these other methods.  Maybe something will make my life easier. Maybe something will make my life easier in revisions. If anyone can make revisions easier for me, I will bake you cupcakes. I'm pretty good at cupcakes. I promise.

But if that doesn't happen, well, I'm sure by the time I've ten or twelve drafts done I'll have found the perfect method. For me. This is an every-man-for-himself sort of thing.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rage (Horsemen of the Apocalypse, Book 2)So I'm sure you guys didn't miss the hoopla about YA; the WSJ posted yet another ill-advised and under-reserched piece about young adult novels this past weekend. To summarize: books for teenagers are too dark nowdays! Also, there was an appropriate reading list divided into "boy books" and "girl books", which I have to admit I was stuck on myself...

Anyway, there was an appropriately irritated response from the kid lit community which included a Twitter trend of #yasaves - some of the responses are here as well as on Twitter.

Are You in the House Alone?There's no need for another outrage filled post, so I'm just going to say... I'm so glad we're even having conversations like these.  When I was still searching the YA section for books to read in the '90s, there was so little there. Too old for Babysitters Club and Nancy Drew? Well, there was a handful of issues books like Are You In the House Alone?, A Wrinkle in Time (which I loved) as well as L'Engle's other books, V.C. Andrew's bizarro world and... well, I remember a bunch of romances about terminally ill girls featuring prominently in the tiny YA department of the local bookstore. Slim pickings, and the reason why most of us moved straight on to reading adult fantasy or horror or whatever.

Teens today don't have to skip straight to King and Heinlein right away, though, the way I did (a point which I think the original WSJ article missed -- kids aren't stuck in the YA section, which encompasses such a wide range, from fluffy romance to violent dystopian to gritty issues, that it can now compete with the adult shelves, at least for a while).  There are YA books to hook every reader, including the ones who might not make the jump to adult fiction otherwise.

And while that might be causing some unrest in various parental camps, that's also pretty awesome.